Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie
AMSTERDAM — James Glorioso Jr. said he doesn’t feel like a hero.
Not a year after risking his life to save a drowning man and his son in New Jersey, not a week after earning the status of a “Carnegie Hero” and not right before his Carnegie medal arrives in the mail.
To Glorioso, his heroic act wasn’t heroic at all; it was what he thinks is expected of him.
“I just did what you would hope other people would do for you,” Glorioso said.
Glorioso Jr., a 42-year-old actor and former deputy and Montgomery County Sheriff’s candidate from Amsterdam, was named a Carnegie Hero last Tuesday for his heroic swim, along with 16 others who risked their lives to save others. He will be recognized with the Carnegie Medal as part of the third group of winners announced this calendar year. He now joins the 10,184 other Carnegie Medal recipients who have been recognized by the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission since its inception in 1904.
“There’s bigger heroes out there than what I had done,” Glorioso said. “There’s certainly a lot of people out there who go unrecognized for the things that they do, which are absolutely outstanding. And I don’t feel what I did was anything other than what I’d do on duty as a police officer — that would be my job.”
On July 29, 2019, Glorioso risked his life by attempting to rescue a drowning 58-year-old man and his 11-year-old son on a beach in New Jersey. While the son swam to safety, the man didn’t survive after Glorioso’s attempts at giving him CPR.
Glorioso said he often thinks back to his act, which has now been immortalized as a heroic one. The recognition especially brought back memories for Glorioso, and he admits they’re tough.
But thankfully, not all news has been bad.
“I spoke to a Pennsylvania reporter today and they had some interaction with the family,” Glorioso said. “They said [the 11-year-old is] doing very well. He’s more grown up for his age. So that was one of the things I was worried about, the impact on the family.”
Back in October, the fund called Glorioso to inform him that someone had nominated him for the medal. It was “unexpected,” he said, and the fund’s investigation unit researched his heroic act by speaking to witnesses and confirming everything that happened on that July day.
Glorioso said he was told that the process could take a few years, so he was thrilled when he discovered he’d be awarded his medal this year, via a phone call earlier this month. “There’s a lot of people that nominate others and there’s a very short list that get selected,” Glorioso said. “I’ve never had a recognition like this. And to be recognized with people that actually lost their lives saving others, it’s an honor, but I feel there’s others that should be honored before me.”
Glorioso said the honor — and the act itself — has him considering returning to law enforcement to fulfil his ultimate goal of helping others. Additionally, he thanks all public safety professionals who put their lives on the line to help their respective communities.
As for a lesson he’s learned: “You can’t take anything for granted, especially your family,” Glorioso said. “Society and people in general need to pay more attention to helping others than hurting others.”